Pondering life back yonder

Ron Walker

Ron Walker


Cousin Sherry and her partner Ray, just drove 1,400 miles from Yankee Hill, Neb. (near Lincoln) to Smith Valley in just two days.

The purpose of this daunting journey was to visit Ray’s daughter in Boulder City and stop off to visit Orllyene and me.

To celebrate the occasion, we have brunch at the Heyday Inn.

The meal is great, only trouble is I take a fall, but fortunately this time I don’t break anything.

The fall and Sherry’s visit get me to thinking about my Nebraska heritage.

My mom (Lily) and her three sisters Daisy, Violet and Iris, were called the “Flower Sisters.”

They sang and played in my Grandfather Scovey’s band.

This was a time when you went to the grocery store on the streetcar and your shopping list consisted of flour, sugar, salt and coffee.

The rest you planted or it lived on a pasture or in the barn.

Scoveys “Gig” book was recently discovered. It lists every engagement he played in 1899. Scovey was a fiddler and good musician.

He played for dances, weddings and parties and received $4.00 to $5.00 an event.

His band also played for the dances at the asylum in Yankee Hill.

They played every Saturday night for 40 years. The nurses danced with the patients in the main hall. I can just see the warm and friendly gathering dancing to Scovey’s melodious music. The asylum is now called the State Hospital/Regional Center.

One of the stories Sherry tells is the time the band played in Sprague, a town not far from Lincoln.

On the long trip home, Scovey was very tired and fell asleep and tumbled off the wagon.

The horses stopped moving immediately. They could have found their way home without Scovey’s guidance but they wouldn’t leave without Scovey.

Sherry also mentions they often took a piano with them in the buggy.

It was a slower way of life, but rich in caring.

An idiosyncrasy I have always admired of Scoveys is he always ate his pie before his meal.

It’s a tradition I am proudly carrying forward.

My grandmother Carrie Tyrer was Scovey’s sister and they all lived close by and she told me Scovey always ate his pie before his meal. She also told me that her four daughters took their weekly bath on Saturday night.

They were called the Flower sisters-Daisy, Violet, Lily (my mom) and Iris.

Iris was the last to use the water in the galvanized tub they set up in the kitchen.

My mom said that Iris turned out to be the “crybaby” of the group, but was the aunt that Orllyene and I most admired.

Orllyene said that Iris was the one relative who made her feel most at home when she and I married.

By the way, Orllyene and I will be married for 60 years on Jan. 20, 2022.

Earlier I mentioned Carrie.

I admired Carrie so much. My grandfather Ernest Tyrer was an elegant orchestra leader from England and Ernest just didn’t fit on a 1900 Nebraska farm so Carrie let him go his way and with they help of the extended family enclave the “Flower Girls” all turned out fine.

Ron Walker can be reached at walkover@gms.com


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